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Forest products producer Weyerhaeuser reported net sales from continuing operations of $1.49 billion for the first quarter of 2012, compared to sales of $1.42 billion in the first quarter of 2011. Net earnings for the quarter were $9 million excluding special items, compared to earnings of $3 million, also excluding one time charges, in the first quarter of 2011.
In the wood products segment, the Federal Way, Wash. Company reported net sales of $634 million, compared to $542 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Sales volumes and prices were higher across all product lines, and operating rates improved. These factors were partially offset by increased freight expense.
Weyerhaeuser anticipates approximately breakeven results from the wood products segment in the second quarter. The company expects higher sales volumes across all product lines and improved selling prices for lumber.
In timberlands, the company reported net sales of $250 million during the first quarter of 2012, compared to $274 million during the fourth quarter of 2011. Income from operations increased $13 million, primarily due to lower Western operating costs. This was mostly offset by a $12 million decline in earnings from the disposition of non-strategic timberlands. Fee harvest volumes increased.
Weyerhaeuser expects modestly higher earnings in the timberlands segment in the second quarter. The company expects higher log sales volumes and slightly improved domestic prices for Western logs, partially offset by an overall increase in fuel costs and seasonally higher silviculture expenses.
"Even as indicators of a modestly improving U.S. housing market begin to emerge, we remain relentlessly focused on improving our financial performance," said Dan Fulton, president and CEO. "We will take full advantage of recovering markets while positioning Weyerhaeuser for future growth, to the benefit of our shareholders."